Repair Your Relationship

Step 4: Choose a strategy

Date ____________

Describe the challenging situation
Consider a recent problem that you and your spouse had and describe the situation here.

Describe in action-oriented terms how you handled the situation
Write down your solution-oriented approach.

Describe your partner's immediate reaction
What did he say or do? In what ways was his response different or more positive than usual?

Describe your partner's reaction several days following the situation
Sometimes change takes time. Note positive changes over the next few days.

Although I recommend that you do keep a Solution Journal, I know that some people are not note takers or writers. If you are averse to writing things down, I strongly suggest you keep detailed mental notes about the things you do that seem effective.

Strategy 1: Act as if

Problems often arise in relationships because people think they can predict the future: "I just know how my wife will respond when I tell her I'm going out" or "Steve will undoubtedly fly off the handle when my parents come for dinner." The problem with predicting dire outcomes in the future is that, whether we know it or not, we begin acting in certain ways that broadcast our expectations to our partners, and these subtle signals often bring about the very results we fear.

When you expect failure and feel defeated before you approach a challenging situation, it's helpful to ask yourself how you would handle the situation differently if you were expecting a positive outcome. How might your approach to your partner differ if you thought he would respond lovingly or positively? Once you identify how your actions would differ under those circumstances, "act is if"; pretend you are expecting good things and watch what happens.

Like this? Want more?
Connect with Us
Follow Our Pins

Yummy recipes, DIY projects, home decor, fashion and more curated by iVillage staffers.

Follow Our Tweets

The very dirty truth about fashion internships... DUN DUN @srslytheshow

On Instagram

Behind-the-scenes pics from iVillage.

Best of the Web